Health giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) was ordered by a Missouri state jury to pay $72 million of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades.
Jurors in a Missouri court ruled on late Monday night that the family of Jacqueline Fox should get $10 million of actual damages and $62 million of punitive damages.
The verdict is of the first kind by a U.S. jury to award damages for a string of allegations over cancer risks relating to talc-based products.
Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy, the family’s lawyers said. Deliberations lasted four hours, following a three-week trial.
Johnson & Johnson faces claims that it, in an effort to boost sales, it failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer. About 1,000 cases have been filed in Missouri state court, and another 200 in New Jersey.
Fox, who hails from Birmingham, Alabama, claimed that she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for more than 35 years before being diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cancer. She died in October at age 62.
” Johnson & Johnson “knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk, and yet resorted to “lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies.” said a lawyer of Fox’s family.
Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said: “We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.”